The next day reminded Rodimus of the misery that being a Prime involved. In a Decepticon attack, nearly eighty Autobots and civilians had been killed. Kup provided little to no support, reprimanding the young leader for his foolish plan. Magnus however, remained quiet. He knew that the Prime felt directly responsible for the attack and was beating himself up worse than Magnus ever could. With shoulders slumped, the chosen stared at the destroyed part of Metroplex. More lives ruined, more lives gone because of him. Of course the media immediately came to Rodimus with questions about how he was going to tell the families about the deaths. His lip components tightened in response.
"No comment at this time, folks." He stated in a flat voice.
"Kup, get them out of here, it's dangerous," He ordered in Autobot, transforming into his vehicle mode and driving away. Kup stepped in front of the press and put his fists on his hips.
"You heard 'em. Out you go!" As the journalists yelled in protest, Magnus continued with repair supervision. He once again felt compassion for the young Prime. He would have followed him, but knew the youth well enough to recognize when he wanted to be alone.
After everything had calmed down, Rodimus sat at his desk, a lone digi-pad placed reverently in front of him. Eighty-three casualties, fifty-seven injured, and eight critical.
"You did a good job back there Rodimus," Magnus' voice made him jump. He gave his second a doubtful look. But the other Autobot's dark faceplate showed no sign of sarcasm or phoniness.
"They're dead." The youth's voice was heavy with guilt. No matter how many countless times the blue and white Autobot heard that, it never failed to bring him an ache of sentiment. Magnus stepped over to him, leaned down, and looked at him optic to optic.
"Death is a part of war. You just have to find the courage to push on after it so that their deaths aren't in vain." Rodimus gazed into his bright blue optics. His laser core started racing, and he resisted the urge to establish physical contact. Where had that thought come from?! When Magnus stepped away, Rodimus felt air flow through his intakes once again.
"I guess" He whispered, shifting his focus from that intense stare to the lone digi-pad.
"Rodimus, stop beating yourself up. I said it once and I'll keep saying it… you're doing a marvelous job as Prime. Do you want me to repeat it?" The young Autobot turned his concentration back to the commander again, his optics bright. Magnus nodded in response, then made himself scarce. The red and orange leader was left to gawk. His thoughts were a whirlwind of emotions, all echoing his second's name. Rodimus tried to push them away. No. No way. It couldn't be possible. But it was. If there was ever one being that was always there for him, even as his old identity, it was Ultra Magnus. If he had gotten into trouble and what not, the city commander had always got him out. He got his aft handed to him after of course, but Magnus was still always there. Rodimus' optics dimmed considerably. It wasn't the feelings he had towards a guardian either… it was… something else. Something that was downright frightening. No way! Magnus was his right hand mech! His second in command! His… his city commander! Besides, the elder mech wasn't even his type! He was harder than a human concrete block, stiffer than a titanium beam! He almost laughed at the prospect.
Meanwhile, the object of the youth's affections was critiquing new security measures of the city. Kup was barking in anger at the lankers that were foolish enough to cut corners in front of him. Ultra Magnus just made certain everything worked efficiently. However, when Perceptor started breaking down the mechanisms, to the wiring, to the electrodoids, to the cells… his thoughts drifted… to Rodimus of all mechs. That kid was always on his processor now. When the young Prime finally began running things on his own, Magnus knew for sure he'd need years to recover. He was surprised to find a faint smirk had been appearing on his faceplate. He hated to admit it… but the youth had grown on him. Grown a lot. Impossible. Rodimus was rash, impatient, careless, carefree, and he was so callous about serious things. But he was forced to confess... the young leader was everything he was not. No, this was not possible. He? About Rodimus? He shook his head outwardly at that. No way, he was the Prime's second, the city commander, and besides… Rodimus was downright insane at times! Rodimus was a wild mech that loved things loud and fast! He almost laughed at the prospect.
A few days later, after hours of restlessness and dissections of Magnus' behaviors, Rodimus went with instinct. Especially since the second was acting strangely. Was it possible? Did Magnus maybe…? Rodimus shuttered at the idea. For as insane as the match was… it seemed to… fit.
It was time for the rank assessments and that meant piles of digi-pads that demanded the attention of the City Commander. Truthfully, the large Autobot was relieved; it saved him from having to address the "other" problem. But, the "other" problem arrived and stood across from the desk. Magnus put the digi-pad down and gave his leader his full attention, ignoring silly 'what ifs' that crossed his processor.
"Magnus… I think… " Rodimus trailed off, making the second's laser core start racing. Had Rodimus realized something? No, not possible, the larger Transformer had been very careful. The young Autobot tried to find the words… but there was so much to say. Some of them being; how grateful he was, how much he adored his compliments, and… touch. Magnus' lip components tightened in anxiety when Rodimus stepped around the desk and in front of him. When the young one's fingers grazed the metallic skin on his cheek plate, he stiffened after a split seconds adoration of the gesture. Rodimus looked physically hurt by that and his whole body froze.
"We are commander and officer. Friends. I'm teaching you the ropes. Anything beyond that is off limits." The harshness of the tone surprised even Ultra Magnus. Rodimus stared, stunned at the blue Autobot. Could his instinct have been wrong? He could have sworn… His optics dimmed as his hope was flushed down the drain.
"Now if you'll excuse me…" He gestured to the digi-pads, the desk and floor overflowing with multicolored digi-pads. The youth took a step back, trying to hold it together.
"Right," Rodimus managed to reply brokenly. He had hoped and felt for that shining moment…he was with someone. That someone… being the city commander. He took off out of there, lest the tears start right in front of the object of his affections. As if he hadn't humiliated himself enough.
Ultra Magnus watched him go, his laser core on the verge of malfunction. Rodimus, that name just repeating in an endless loop through his processor. He shook his head. It was not to be. He was the commander of the Autobots, and Magnus his second. He was a youthful ball of energy, Magnus was not. He was so many things that he was not. He gazed down at the digi-pad in his hand solemnly.
"Sorry Rodimus… some things, weren't meant to be."
The troop assessment was Hot Rod's.